Book Review: The Search for God and Guinness, by Stephen Mansfield

I think I may have had a Guinness only once before in my life, and if so, then tonight I had my second.  Now, knowing the story of this storied family, it was really enjoyable.  I’m a convert.

Stephen Mansfield’s bailiwick is History.  With a PhD in history and literature he is a highly skilled researcher and a gifted writer.  But “The Search…” is more story than accurate and complete history of a family and the business that carries its name.  In it, he tells of the clan of Arthur Guinness and sons who brewed the most popular beer in the world, some also became bankers, and with daughters and others they equipped over 1300 Christian missionaries for service in China.  There is much more…the common labor workers in the Guinness brewery in Dublin likely had the highest standard of living of all workers at their time and place.  Arthur Guinness brewed beer as an alternative to stronger drink, providing a relatively healthful alternative to even the septic water in the domestic supply, and he believed that he was called by God to do it this way, and to help his fellow man up from the squalor of an overcrowded city.  And, of course, there is the Book of Records.

Mansfield is a pleasure to read.  His credentials and style make me think of writers like Tom Wolfe and Thomas Cahill.  In this book, the beer is a side story…the real story is the life of faith in Christ that was inspired by the first Arthur of the Guinness clan.

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